Let's take a look at the health of Champ Car
by analyzing what it is doing better than a year or two ago,
what has taken a step back, and what has stayed the same.
New DP01 – good looking, good performance, reliable
Standing Starts - significant improvement over
rolling starts. Kudos for whoever proposed it
Push-to-Pass - Kudos for whoever
proposed it, but it needs more HP
ESPN contract - but ratings are still not good and
lower than its chief competitor, the IRL
Assen – a good Euro venue with enthusiastic fans. But
what will happen if Doornbos leaves the series? Great
Robert Doornbos – enthusiastic guy, great driver.
Graham Rahal – American, young, enthusiastic guy,
great driver. Seems like he’ll be somewhere else in a year
or two because he keeps talking about F1. Won't get a
shot at F1 unless he starts winning in Champ Car soon
Will Power – a consistent front runner
Mazda – a big supporter of Atlantics
and CCWS by any measure. A great addition, but Champ Car
engine still needs to be badged.
Cleveland – promoter seems to have a good formula to
revive the race.
Medizone – a real sponsor paying real money, or so it
Tony Cotman – nothing but praise from everywhere we
read and all the racing we see. The racing's good and
no one is complaining about the officiating now
Atlantic Series - good fields, great racing, fun to
watch if telecasts can be found.
Eurosport - Not perfect, but a bright
spot on the TV front
European Races - Champ Car proved it
can become more international. Now it needs to expand
upon that success in 2008 and beyond
European media coverage - A bright
spot this year. Helped make European races a success
Paul Newman - If not for his
continued support not sure where series would be right
CDW - Only sponsor that cares enough
to run full page ads in major newspapers. At least
they activate their sponsorship.
Schedule – 14 races spread over 8 months. Huge gaps.
Little date equity. Pathetic. Check out the IRL.
TV ratings – embarrassing, almost non-existent and
series still cannot even produce cumulative international
viewers per race to help sponsors justify their
participation in the series. Competition will have all
high-definition TV broadcasts in 2008. Will Champ Car?
Lack of TV in key markets - no live TV in Mexico and
Australia had no coverage until half of season was gone
Majority of mainstream media ignores Champ Car. Some
major newspapers don’t even show race results, let alone run
an editorial mention or a story. Print media has long
abandoned the series. And even the web would be devoid of
CCWS content without a few racing websites, media from some
current race markets, and the content that Champ Car
produces for ESPN.com
Robin Miller and Gordon Kirby – two of the most
respected reporters, sympathetic with CCWS for years, now
spewing evil things about it. These were go-to figures for
open wheel fans, and still are, who got pushed aside because
they tried to tell CCWS where they were going wrong.
17 cars? Give us a break. To promise 22-24 and fall
that far short is embarrassing. Series in desperate need of
more teams and 22-24 cars consistently
Sebastien Bourdais – Soon to be 4x champ and winner of half of
past four year’s races leaving
Oriol Servia – one of the more popular personalities
in a thin paddock loses ride after outperforming his
AJ Allmendinger – Atlantic grad, strongest
American identity and strong personality, was beating
Bourdais, now gone
Nelson Philippe – young, race winner, charismatic
personality, now gone
Andrew Ranger – Atlantic grad, young, charismatic,
Canadian draw, now gone
Ryan Dalziel – Atlantic grad, charismatic, fan
favorite, good driver, gets sacked after beating his
Ryan Hunter-Reay - Atlantic grad,
young, charismatic, American was proven race winner.
Now helping the IRL grow in popularity
China debacles x2 – loss of international and FIA
credibility. Still no Chinese driver in Champ Car, yet
series still thinks it can race in China and have success. Amazing.
Phoenix debacle – US and potential venue credibility
Korea debacle - negative effects still linger
San Jose surprise – a seemingly successful example of
a “Three Day Festival of Speed” can’t hack it. The 100k plus
fans in SJ will turn into 20k at Laguna Seca. On top of it
city gives money for three years to support race, but when
money stops, race gets cancelled. Try and sell new
street races in the USA now.
Mexico – once a stronghold and source of sponsors and
drivers, now it is barely on the open wheel map. NASCAR’s
Montreal – NASCAR’s gain
Portland – can’t seem to make it work
Ford – pushes away a manufacturing partner with at
least some advertising dollars and credentials before it has
a replacement lined up
Lots of promising drivers from Atlantics - gone
Cristiano da Matta – another former champ gone but
not Champ Car's fault
Katherine Legge – great personality but the results
are not there
Credentials within the racing world - given race
Detroit – the IRL reinvented the Detroit GP and did a
good job with corporate and city support. Decent crowd,
proves they can do street races just as good as Champ Car
Mid-Ohio – the IRL likely drew more to this event,
with ALMS, than Champ Car did at any domestic road course
this year, but Honda had a huge free ticket giveaway to
Ovals – the mantle of most diverse open wheel racing
series now exclusively belongs to the IRL.
CDW / Justin Wilson – this potential loss would cost
the series one of its best drivers and one of its few real
sponsors. Add to that every other sponsor that has
looked at or tried the series only to abandon it
Lack of Continuity – see all of the above
Disappearance of Gerald Forsythe - appears to have
lost interest in Champ Car as he never comes to races
anymore. No explanation from Champ Car.
Empty sidepods - still too many cars with blank
sidepods or non-activating sponsors
The racing – seems about the same as it always was –
really good at times and boring other times.
Las Vegas – mixed reactions. Good race track, decent
crowd with plenty of empty seats. Will it be back for year
two? If so, will people pay to see it? Must be season
Zolder – fair track, lackluster attendance
Mt. Tremblant – cool track, great fans but,
relatively speaking, not that many of them. A very low
profile North American event.
Elkhart Lake – pairing with ALMS provided a decent
crowd. Without ALMS…….?
Houston – though the promoter seems to do as good a
job as possible, what an unappetizing event it appears to be
on TV. Parking lots are not attractive. Attendance seemed
Red Bull – this sponsor appears to be there for no
reason other than as a payback for cancelling their F1
Cosworth contract early. With no Champ Car activation we get
the feeling that they won't be back for year two.
Paul Stoddart – but where’s Cedric?
Minardi 2 seater – F1x2 sounds great, people love it.
However, this is Champ Car, not F1. What happened to the
Champ Car two-seater?
Events in Australia, Long Beach, Edmonton, and Toronto
remain strong, but growth is hampered by lack of driver
'heroes' to draw more fans, but Surfers should remain strong
with Will Power running up front.
Paul Tracy - A great personality and
fierce competitor. Remains loyal to the series but how
many cars did he crash this year? If he keeps it up he
might even bankrupt Gerald Forsythe.
McDonald's - Big name sponsor, little
or no activation.
Onboard starters - great idea, but
they did not work. A fix is supposedly in the works
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